The Independent Bakers Association (IBA) held its fall meeting at Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Oct. 15-16. Independent bakers and allieds gathered to discuss pertinent topics affecting their businesses, from labor policy to health care.
Following a discussion with Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AK), Connie Vaughan, McKee Foods, suggested food safety would be the next big issue tackled on the Hill, once the health care issue is settled. In fact, efforts to enhance food safety are already in progress. The House passed a bill as part of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, authorizing an annual registration fee of $500 for every food facility. The $500 fee will generate approximately $175 million for FDA's food safety activities. This registration fee has been reduced significantly from Chairman Emeritus Dingell's Food and Drug Globalization Act introduced last Congress, where the facility registration fee was $2,000. The bill includes a per company cap of $175,000.
IBA is lobbying for the FDA to impose fees only on production facilities and not distribution sites.
During the lunch session, Tommy Fulton, of The Forum for Family Business, spoke about his experiences with his family's business and how to avoid certain pitfalls. Succession of a family business needs to be planned well ahead of time, Fulton says. When a family business gets to the third or fourth generation, it can become unwieldy. Let family members pursue their passion. Let them own their passion. If they want to come back and work for the business, that's fine, he adds.
Other topics discussed included baking trends; flour's protein quality; the status of sugar imports, and the effect sugar prices are having on the yeast market.
IBA will hold its winter meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., Feb. 21-24. All independent bakers, allieds and others with related interests are encouraged to attend and participate in a lively discussion on factors impacting their businesses.